News in Brief 30 December 2016 (AM)

More than one million people in northeast Nigeria receive food aid

The UN food agency, WFP, has delivered food or cash to more than a million Nigerians in conflict-affected zones in the Northeast since the beginning of December.

Over half of those in need of urgent humanitarian assistance have now been reached following the recent delivery of aid, the agency confirmed.

To achieve this, WFP has stepped up its response in Borno and Yobe States, where as many as four million people are food insecure.

The region has been devastated by years of violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency.

In order to reach areas that were previously inaccessible, WFP used helicopters to carry out airdrops and airlifts of humanitarian supplies.

Abdou Dieng, WFP’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said his office plans to do more.

However, he added, an operation of this scope and complexity requires sustained funding to maintain the momentum.

Over 1,000 demolitions recorded in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2016

More than 1,000 Palestinian-owned structures throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, were either demolished or seized in 2016, a recent UN study has revealed.

The overwhelming majority of structures were seized or destroyed because of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

The measure displaced more than 1,500 Palestinians and impacted the livelihoods of another 7,000.

Meanwhile, some 51,000 people are still displaced in the Gaza Strip after losing their homes in the 2014 conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups. The data also includes information about checkpoints and other barriers to freedom of movement, such as earth mounds, roadblocks, and road gates.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) began recording the information in 2009.

The aim of the study is to look at trends affecting the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

UN experts condemn Ecuador for “stifling” civil society

The Government of Ecuador has been condemned by a group of UN experts for dissolving several human rights organisations in the country.

The government recently ordered the closure of a leading grassroots environmental group called ‘Accion Ecologica’.

On 18 December, the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called for a Peace and Truth Commission to investigate attacks on indigenous and environmental rights.

But two days later, Ecuador’s Environment Ministry, initiated the NGO’s dissolution process.

The group of independent UN human rights experts has already censured the government for the clampdown of groups such as the environmental NGO ‘Pachamama’ and the teacher’s union of Ecuador or UNE, over the past three years.

The experts once again urged the Ecuadorian authorities to reverse such decisions and recalled that the closing down of these human rights organizations is the “most severe type of restriction on freedom of association.”

Source: United Nations Radio